Thrilling solo @ Mcleodganj

14th Oct 2016
Photo of Thrilling solo @ Mcleodganj 1/6 by Mohit Sewani
A dead body at Bhagsu falls, yeah that's me!
Photo of Thrilling solo @ Mcleodganj 2/6 by Mohit Sewani
A group from Delhi, they were fun.
Photo of Thrilling solo @ Mcleodganj 3/6 by Mohit Sewani
When you travel solo, you do find your soul sitting right beside you!
Photo of Thrilling solo @ Mcleodganj 4/6 by Mohit Sewani
The full moon from Triund!
Photo of Thrilling solo @ Mcleodganj 5/6 by Mohit Sewani
Dawn at Triund
Photo of Thrilling solo @ Mcleodganj 6/6 by Mohit Sewani
Safar khubsurat hai manzil se bhi!


When nothing works out, just let it go solo. I took off on a solo trip to Mcleodganj with no plans or idea of the place whatsoever leaving everything to destiny.

Met an interesting guy named Tenzing (I first presumed him to be from Nepal or China) in the bus journey, and then he asked, "Bhaiya aap akele?" I said yes brother. He was a travel agent and was heading home to Dharamshala for the weekend. Just realized, for most of them, that place is a weekend gateway and for some, it was home.

Being a localite, he guided me of how to go about the place and the best places to visit. Triund, Bhagsu falls, monastery and the market were the prominent ones.

Next morning at 7am, I reached the Mcleodganj bus stop and after getting refreshed at the Bus stop itself, I straightaway headed to have a bath at Bhagsu falls. It was a steep 3km uphill trek and with a heavy bagpack, it got tiring. I finally reached there and discovered that there wasn't even a single person around. Me and only me. I removed my clothes and tried to feel the water through my legs. Damn, it was freezing. I got goosebumps already. I went back to my bag, took out the Old Monk quarter I was carrying, down in one shot and splash!, jumped into the waterfall. Firstly it felt like that my heartbeat skipped but after sometime, it felt good! I realised a family had came up to enjoy the falls. I did a dead body and asked the Uncle to click my picture through his mobile phone. Took his whatsapp no. and asked him to send it to me later. technology!

I got to know about the Ind vs Nz ODI to be held in Dharamshala on the Sunday. Straightaway headed to get the tickets and after sometime, I was holding a ticket to my first ever live match in the stadium, that too at the most scenic stadium in India, HPCA Stadium.

Got back to Mcleodganj and started trekking to Triund. Solo Trek and was bloody excited to meet people on the way. Just started it and met a Delhi group on the way. they were chill people taking each other's case and within minutes, it was "Bhai-bhai"!

We continued the trek for sometime and then I carried on as they sat for resting. The next group was from Bhatinda. A group of college mates, it reminded me of my own college days and the colourful friendship. We shared good laughs and then again I took off alone.

More groups and many different stories were my entertainment throughout the trek. As I reached the top, it got foggy and colder. I reached Triund and it was a big green valley with hills all around reflecting the red sunlight of the setting sun. I found the group I had met in the way and sat with them. Sun was setting and we arranged some wood sticks for the bonfire. The sun came down, the stars came up. And it all made way for the Chanda mama. It was hidden behind the hill, and slowly but steadily peeped at us. For the first time ever, I saw a rising moon. And when finally it was out completely, it had lit up entire Triund with its light.

The setting was perfect. Stars, Full moon, cold breeze, bonfire, 50 odd strangers, guitars with Old monk. We all sang along some old Bollywood numbers and it felt great. After a moment when everyone was back to their tents, I just lay back on the ground gazing at the stars and thinking, well I stopped thinking and enjoyed everything out there. These sights of stars and Full moon with cold breeze you do not find in Delhi. I teamed up with the group I met on the way and camped with them. It was so bloody cold that we had to burn plastic bottles the entire night to stay warm. That was wrong but necessary.

Next day early morning, I trekked down to Mcleodganj, freshened up at a lodge, kept my luggage at the Bus stop cloak room and headed straight to the stadium.

India vs New Zealand, MSD back into the blue, hills all around, a breeze blowing accross, I thought accidentally I took the decision of making it to Dharamshala but it proved to be happy blessing. I enjoyed the match thouroughly but also realized that I hadn't booked my returned tickets. When I enquired, I got to know that the last bus to leave Dharamshala was at 9:30pm. Match got over at 7:30pm and I sprinted towards the Bus stop which was around 4.5kms uphill. Thanks to my selling skills, I got an Activa lift to the Bus stop and ran towards the Ticket window but heard the answer I was afraid of, "There are no tickets to any place for tonight, next bus to Delhi leaves at 5am in the morning". But I had to meet a client tomorrow, sales job perils!

I had to be in Delhi anyhow. Somewhere I heard, a person saying, "Chandigarh, Chandigarh!" and I knew Chandigarh can get me to Delhi easily. It was a Punjab Roadways bus and I just grabbed a seat but to my amazement the bus was empty and it just started when I sat. I thought for a moment that there is no need to worry now, I'll reach Chandigarh but then the driver said that he won't go to Chandigarh if there are less than 10 people that means 6 more. He thought of getting people on the way. There would have been many people I thought who have to be in Delhi but might not have booked tickets but why will they board this bus on the way as they'll have to get back to their hotels or the bus stop to pick up their luggage. The bus went down 4 kms, took a U-turn and returned straight to the Bus stop.

I decided that I have to get people on my own to go to Chandigarh. When the bus reached, the driver told that he won't move until there are 40 people, 40! I was just firm on my belief that there will be many people like me who might not have booked return tickets due to the match and became the conductor myself running all across the bus stop catching groups of people and asking them if the are looking for a way to reach Delhi and guided them to the Chandigarh bus. Within 15 minutes, I was back at the bus and it was almost 80% full. There was an air around the bus stop that the bus is heading to Chandigarh and people came rushing in. 60 people boarded that bus finally!

My selling skills had a real test that night and came out with flying colours. People actually thanked me for letting them know about this bus. I saved their jobs, important meetings and exams. I leaned back at my seat, closed my eyes and just saved every moment in my mind. It was an adventurous trip with a thrilling end.

But if you think, it was all, it's not over yet. It was 3am Monday morning, I reached the Sector 17 bus stand and got the place where we get the volvo to Delhi. 30 mnts passed and we couldn't get tickets. That was the time I took my mobile out and opened the most fascinating travel app I ever came across, Ryde by Ibibo. It was 3:50 am and I found a car scheduled at 4am for Delhi. There were 3 other people who were coming with me from Dharamshala. The car arrived at 4am, it was brand new XUV 500, with a Sardarji driving it. Rs 500 per person and we zoomed to Delhi. 6:45am I touched ISBT Kashmiri gate and by metro, at 7:30am was at my doorstep.

From being stranded in the middle of the Dharamshala bus stand with nowhere to go at 9pm at night to being there at my doorstep in Kailash colony in Delhi at 7:30am the next morning, the journey had everything. I advise every reader of this article to take solo trips, it tests your mental and physical awareness to its best and brings out the best in you. And also, you make a whole lot of new friends and infinite happy memories. Cheers!